December 24, 2020, 12:01:06 am
Wonder Woman 1984 cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal
Wonder Woman 1984 Director: Patty Jenkins
Wonder Woman 1984 review: Two stars
Three years ago, director Jenkins and actor Gadot founded a victorious Wonder Woman who warmed hearts as much as she set the wicked on fire. Diana Prince was beautiful and vulnerable, she loved and lost. Wonder Woman 1984 (there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to go to 1984 other than that it brings in “the Soviet Union”) doesn’t have the freshness of an origin story. But unfortunately it doesn’t have the severity of a sequel to a successful hit either.
It’s hard to believe it’s the same director at the helm while WW84 stumbles through a long opening sequence of Diana as a young girl among the Amazonians (again for no good reason) and then some ordinary bailouts are carried out by her as Wonder Woman in the 80s. When Gadot swings, swings, slips and throws himself into a fight and hurls the bad guys with their lasso, it remains a joy to watch. However, the story takes too long to get into battles worth fighting for. She wastes her first strokes and precious screen time on two-penny amateur robbers.
Superman films have been known to move in the same way, but these scenes are about a young, clumsy teenager trying out his new skills. Gadots Diana is a beautiful, grown up, confident woman who rules every scene she steps in – whether in immaculately tailored clothes or Wonder Woman clothes.
In fact, Wonder Woman does a lot of Gadot’s looks in 1984, underlining it repeatedly and even putting a slide for her in the form of Dr. Barbara Minerva (Wiig). The two are experts in different fields in the same Smithsonian Museum, and when Diana in her heels and dresses stands next to Barbara in her lousy hair, big glasses, and shabby skirts, compare and feel sorry for her. It’s a strange way to go about settling on a franchise that prides itself on being the first to be a superwoman. In fact, one of the first tricks Barbara has to master is working and walking in heels like Diana, even if her job takes hours to stare at artifacts through the microscope.
The film works even harder to get its central message across: Be careful what you want. This dilemma is introduced when a curiosity that makes people’s wishes come true ends up in the Smithsonian. It eventually falls into the hands of Max Lord (Pascal), a failed businessman and TV personality with a large head of hair who uses it for the wrong purposes. Aside from the fact that it’s strange information for someone like Lord to have about such an item, or that the item’s ancestry is really too ridiculous to mention and that Pascal lacks the charisma to make a movie shoulder, the things Lord chooses to go after makes very little sense. From an oil tycoon in Egypt, with Saudi Arabia and a private army, to an evangelist with television presence, to the White House, Lord simply jumps from one idea to the next.
The jumps are almost as chaotic as Wonder Woman. In short, the movie gets it right when Diana, landing her hands on the aforementioned curiosity, wishes the return of her pilot friend, who died shortly after World War I, Steve (Pine). For some reason, Steve returns to someone else’s body, but from then on he’s portrayed as a jaw and just a jaw (assuming that Diana sees him that way). Pine and Gadot were good together in the first Wonder Woman, and if Jenkins allows it, there are still sparks. There is a world to be saved, however, and while Diana is doing the virtuous task it is a little unsettling that she doesn’t think twice about the consequences of bringing Steve back from the dead. Like Barbara’s character, Steve’s prominent return to Diana’s new life only undermines what the film is about.
Especially when Gadot’s Diana is that good at fighting her battles. Jenkins revisits the skillful touch she had shown in the previous Wonder Woman, giving Diana’s action-packed battles a fast-paced and exciting pace. One of Diana’s several violent clashes with Barbara takes place right outside the US President’s office. Not one but two women set the tone in the White House as the most powerful man in the world is helpless – now that there is an idea.
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